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CelticsBlog MailBag - NBA Draft Combine Edition Part 3

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

It's the day two of the NBA Draft Combine and prospects will continue going through drills and interviews as teams look to find out more information about their potential selections.

And here at CelticsBlog, I've been answering your questions about the draft. With the lottery next Tuesday, it's time to ramp up our coverage, so here's part three of this week's mailbag. Topics discussed include plans if the Celtics lose the lottery, draft needs, fireworks, trades, and Brad Stevens' system.

Q: Let's assume we don't get a top 4 pick. Would we prefer to stay at 5 and be forced to pick yet another PF, or would it be better to drop to 8th and get a SF like McDermott or maybe Saric, both who would fill a need? - alldaboston

A: I'm not sure if the spot makes a major difference in terms of position. I think the target will be Aaron Gordon, Doug McDermott, Dario Saric, or Noah Vonleh if they're anywhere between 5th and 8th anyway. Out of those four, I think only Vonleh is a true big man. I project the others as small forwards on offense. Gordon can defend multiple positions in a good way, McDermott's position depends on the team, and Saric's position will too.

Q: Is it more realistic to get an All-Star, a starter, or a "rotation guy" (top eight players) with the fifth pick? Or should the first pick be considered simply an asset right now to be packaged to get an All-Star or starter? - Big_Easy

A: Realistically, a starter or rotation player is most likely. The highest percentages of draft picks are such, and only a handful turn into All-Stars. Obviously there is a higher percent chance that the Celtics draft a great player at the top of the draft, so I'd recommend reading this article (click here) that I published back in March for further details on this topic.

Q: The Celtics need a rim protector, a create your own shot player and a 3 point assassin. Which in your opinion is the most needed and who in the draft fills that role with the 1st pick and who fills the 2nd needed requirement with the 2nd pick? - celticstrong

A: I think a go-to player is what they need most. They definitely need rim protection and a sharpshooter, but I believe those can often be found late in the round. That's why, in hindsight, I don't hate the Fab Melo pick. At the time, I did, but looking back, I understand that it was high risk/high reward. Had he panned out, the Celtics would've had a rim protector now. Even the two guys that they made trade for were drafted late: Larry Sanders (#15) and Omer Asik (#36).

Q: How likely will "fireworks" happen on draft night in terms of trades? -- boston4life

A: Your guess is as good as mine, seriously. I think if you're looking for a Kevin Love trade to go down on draft night, the Celtics will have to lose the lottery and end up with the 7th or 8th pick. Even then, they don't really have to give up a draft pick for him, so it might not happen until later in the offseason, like the Kevin Garnett trade didn't happen until July 31st.

Q: What players do you think fit well with Brad Steven's system? What about Rondo? Are there players who fit with both? - 345celtic

A: Funny you ask, since I'm working on an article that answers the first part of this question. I'm still not convinced that Rondo can flourish in Stevens' true motion offense, only if he becomes more of a Tony Parker type of distributor, and improves his spot up shooting, but can obviously be great in it. I mean, great players like Rondo are usually great no matter where they play. With that said, I think any player can fit with Stevens and Rondo individually, but together, it'd be amazing to see them get a "3-and-D" player for the shooting guard position. Perhaps they already have one on their team in Jeff Green, if he starts engaging on every defensive possession.

Q: Could we use the 2nd pick in the 2014 draft to ship Gerald Wallace out of town and bring someone back with less years on their contract? Ainge did this with Lafrentz, and it ended up working nice. Something like Gerald Wallace and our 2nd pick in 2014 for Asik? -- Jimmy

A: Yes, but I don't think something like that would happen until the trade deadline. So, like, Gerald Wallace and the 2015 Clippers first rounder for something. As for Asik, the Rockets want to open up cap space when they deal Asik, not add any.

Q: What do you think the percentages are that A) the Cs draft a Center vs. B) they trade for a Center? If your answer is B, would you rather have Asik or Sanders? -- greenelf

A: I'd say like 30% draft a center, 70% trade for a center.. It all depends on their draft positioning. I'd lean towards Larry Sanders despite the character concerns. I just think he is that much better than Omer Asik because of his shot blocking abilities. Asik is awesome, but Sanders is arguably the best defensive center in the league.

Q: If Embiid has a Sully-like back issue that will definitely require surgery at some point, how far do you see him slipping? -- Christian.m

A: Not very far, I really can't see Joel Embiid dropping past the fifth pick even if it's revealed that he does have a back problem like Jared Sullinger.

Q: If we pick at 5 or 6, would it be worth while trying to trade down? Beyond picks 1-4 I don't see anybody that absolutely jumps off the page. Are there any teams that we could target for trading down? -- puppiesareadorable

A: It really depends on the trade package. I know that's a copout answer but it's the truth. I they can trade down from 6th to 10th, still get the player they want, and pick up a future first or another pick in 2014, then it'll be worth it. But if the guy they want will unrealistically fall to 10th, then they should just keep the pick. Targets could be Orlando, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.

Q: Assuming we don't get lucky and land somewhere in the top three, who would you take with the fifth pick? Side question; regardless of your opinion, who do you think the C's will/would draft there? -- Bigbrotheryeti

A: The Celtics are interviewing Dante Exum, who is unlikely to slip to five, but they're also talking to Marcus Smart, who will be there unless something unexpected happens. With that said, I think Dario Saric or Aaron Gordon make a lot of sense at the fifth pick. Both players can play small or power forward (very few players can be slotted strictly into one position and these two are certainly wings, not bigs). In the event that Gordon or Saric were drafted the Celtics could trade Jeff Green or just move him to shooting guard. As for whom I think the Celtics would draft fifth: Dario Saric.

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